Review: Jonida Maliqi- ‘Ktheju tokes’ (Albania)

Artist: Jonida Maliqi

Song: Ktheju tokes

Country: Albania

Rating: ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆

Ranking: 28th

Betting Odds: 126/1

Albania were the first nation to reveal their song for Eurovision 2019. Back in December, Jonida Maliqi impressed the Albanian jury and voting public and won Festivali i Kenges with the song ‘Ktheju Tokes’. Find out what we made of the song!

Albania have proven themselves time and again to be the one of the best nations at the ethnic ballad. Recently they took this to the next level by adding the rock vocalists of Eugent Bushpepa to their arsenal. This year, while Jonida doesn’t quite live up to the pzazz of Eugent, she has shown that her vocal ability is just as accomplished.

It’s also nice to see that the nation is continuing with the recently established tradition of singing in their own language, as I feel when they have translated their songs into English in the past, some of the magic has been lost.

‘Ktheju Tokes’ has it all: a strong drum beat, ethnic horns and a haunting vocal. It starts out strong and builds layer after layer, connecting with the listener. The subject matter of the song is also poignant- written ‘for Albanians, for immigrants, for all the people around the world’, the lyrics deal with the topic of Albanian emigration, especially in relation to the Kosovo War.

The chorus is my favourite part of the song and puts me in mind of the ABBA track ‘Lay All Your Love On Me’, the part that goes ‘Don’t go wasting your emotions…’. It will be interesting to see if the song can adequately connect with juries and fans on the live stage at Eurovision. I think it’s worthy of a place in the final, but I wonder how it will get on sandwiched between two strong favourites Russia and Norway in Semi Final 2?

If you would like to find out more about Jonida, check out our 10 Things About…Jonida Maliqi!, the lyrics along with an English translation can be found here and a video of the national final performance is below.

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